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THE    CHINESE    CHARACTER              4!
understanding other qualities are derived, such as pacifism' contentment, calm and strength of endurance which distinguish the Chinese character. Strength of character is really strength of the mind, according to the Confucianists. When a man has cultivated these virtues through mental discipline, we say he has developed his character.
Very often these virtues are attained also through the help of Confucian fatalism. For contrary to the general belief, fatalism is a great source of peace and contentment. A beautiful and talented girl may rebel against an unsuitable marriage, but if the peculiar circumstances of her meeting with her fiance can convince her that it is the gods who have decreed the match, she can at once, through an act of understanding, become a happy and contented wife. For the husband has in her eyes become a "predestined enemy," and the Chinese proverb says "predestined enemies will always meet in a narrow alleyway." With that understanding, they can love and fight each other furiously ever after, knowing all the time that the gods are looting on and causing them all this trouble.
If we review the Chinese race and try to picture their national characteristics, we shall probably find the following traits of character: (i) sanity, (2) simplicity, (3) love of nature, (4) patience, (5) indifference, (6) old roguery, (7) fecundity, (8) industry, (9) frugality, (10) love of family life, (i i) pacifism, (12) contentment, (13) humour, (14) conservatism, and (15) sensuality. They are, on the whole, simple great qualities that would adorn any nation.1 Some of these characteristics are vices rather than virtues, and others are neutral qualities; they are the weakness as well as the strength of the Chinese nation. Too much mental sanity often clips imagination of its wings and deprives the race of its moments of blissful madness; pacifism can become a vice of cowardice; patience, again, may bring about a morbid tolerance of evil; conservatism
11 have not put down honesty, because all over the world farming people are honest, and the reputation of the Chinese merchant for honesty is only a concomitant of his provincial method of doing business, and a mere result of the predominance of the rural pattern and ideal of life. When Chinese are put in a seaport, they lose to a marked extent that pristine honesty and can be as dishonest as any Wall Street stock-jobber.